Once upon a time, I thought love was a fairytale.
I thought selling myself to a mafia boss was noble. So what if they called him the Beast" I grew up in rags, and he would lift me to riches. All I had to do was give him my soul.
He was punishing. Insatiable. Captivating. Nothing like I expected him to be. Each day my reality blurred, leaving me wondering if I was slave or princess.
The longer I stayed, the more I lost myself to him. Even after every cruelty the Beast visited upon me, I longed for his touch. Even after every savage word he spoke, I begged for his lips. I thought the worst thing he could take was my body. I was too na"ve to guard my heart.
Once upon a time, I thought love was a fairytale.
Now I know better than to speak of happily ever afters.
Beast is the first book in the Hate Story duet. About what it means to fall in love with the person who has absolutely destroyed you, it contains disturbing and graphic situations that may be a trigger for some.Books in Series:Hate Story Series by Mary Catherine GebhardBooks by Author:Mary Catherine Gebhard Books
"Take me," she said, voice unwavering.
"And what will you offer"" His voice was low and gravelly. It was cruel.
"My life for his debts." Her voice was steady even though the crystal pools of her eyes rippled. She was frightened. Good.
The Beast, as he was called, was going to kill her father. He"d racked up a series of irreconcilable debts. While some were to banks, most were to unsavory types like the Beast. Her father"s debt was past payment, past broken kneecaps and threats. There was no way he could pay it off, and if he couldn"t pay it, well"there was no point to his existence anymore.
Like a honeybee that couldn"t make honey.
That was the tacit agreement made months ago when Antonio Notte borrowed money from the Pavoni Family. When you took money from the biggest crime family in the world, if you stopped producing honey, they crushed you like a bug underfoot.
The Beast walked around the small New Jersey home touching things as he went. He didn"t normally go on routine collections; he was past his cracking-skulls days and now wore suits, no longer bloodying his knuckles. Yet earlier that day when the Beast stared out the windows of his Tribeca penthouse, he hadn"t felt luxury"he"d felt like a caged bird. So, he"d called his next in line and asked what was happening out on the streets.
Suddenly he found himself in New Jersey, a cowering man at his feet while to his left was the man"s daughter, who refused to cower.
Beast lifted his finger from the linoleum-wrapped countertop. Nothing in the house was new. The linoleum was peeling. The fake wood on the cabinet was coming up like paper. It smelled faintly of old earth.
Clearly Notte hadn"t used the money to redecorate.
The Beast had come expecting whining, blood, and splatter. Instead he got a girl with long, curling, chocolate hair and stone in her eyes. Her collarbone protruded gently from honey skin, sticking out defiantly with challenge to match her folded arms. Stepping around Notte"s prostrated body on the ground, Beast walked closer to her and placed a single finger on the protruding bone. She swallowed as he ran a finger down the wing, feeling the smoothness against his rough skin. Harsh laughter erupted behind him"his men enjoying the show. Beast raised a hand that quickly shut them up.
She swallowed again and smacked his hand away. The Beast smiled, but only a fool would think it was anything other than chilling. The smile was lazy and crooked, his teeth pearly white. Something in that smile betrayed pure wickedness, an evil born and not begotten.
"My life for his," she repeated.
"Frankie!" Notte protested, but it was limp, like the way he lifted his head from the floor but couldn"t quite manage to get back to his feet. As the old man voiced his plea, he still remained where he"d been since Beast came through the door: on his knees.
"Frankie"" The Beast murmured her name, as if trying the taste on his tongue. It was a decidedly masculine name, and she was quite feminine looking. Notte reached for Frankie’s arm impotently. Maybe the penniless fool realized if he did nothing save sit on the floor while his daughter traded her life so he could live, he wouldn"t be able to sleep at night.
"It"s finished." The Beast grabbed her arm and dragged her out the door. "Come now, Frankie."
She belonged to him.
New York City never lost its magic, at least not for me. It should have, considering I"d lived in Jersey my entire life, only a train ride away. Still, the tall buildings, the lights"it was like traveling into a fairytale. Now it was December, the most wonderful time to be in the city. The streets would be decorated in lights, snow would have blanketed all the ugly parts, the big department stores would have put up their decorations"
At least I had that to look forward to.
The town car jolted to a stop and I looked hungrily out the windows, trying to see past the dark tint. It was only minutes after we"d left. Left home. Left Papa. Left everything I knew. I swallowed, repressing the thoughts for the time being. I was focusing on survival, one foot in front of the other and all that, and I was pretty concerned about my location, because there was no way we"d arrived in New York City"which was where he"d said we were going. He"d not said it to me, of course, but to the driver.
Everything happened so quickly after I traded myself.
I didn"t get to pack anything.
I didn"t even get to say goodbye.
He"d said, "Come now, Frankie," then grasped my arm, dragging me down the sloped, cracking cement steps of my home to the street where a sleek, oily black town car sat parked and waiting. I"m not sure if I was pushed, seated gently, or slid myself inside the car. Everything blurred together, my skin went numb, and my brain turned out the lights. I heard him tell the driver where to go, like someone yelling through a dark, empty room. I"d looked up to see the driver but all I"d caught was a flash of curly blond hair before the partition closed.